No 11th hour nail biters this time. They actually came to an agreement with a couple of days to spare.
But don't worry. This stopgap funding measure only pays for the government until November 18. So in about 50 days, we get to do the whole thing all over again.
After days of brinkmanship reminiscent of the budget battles that have consumed Washington this year, key senators clinched a compromise that would provide less money for disaster relief than Democrats sought but would also strip away spending cuts that Republicans demanded. The pact, which the Senate approved 79 to 12 and the House is expected to ratify next week, is expected to keep federal agencies open until Nov. 18.
"It will be a win for everyone," said Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the plan "a reasonable way to keep the government operational."
Aides to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he will support the compromise.
The spending battle marked the third time this year that congressional acrimony has brought the government to the edge of calamity. In April, Boehner and President Obama reached a deal on funding for 2011 about 90 minutes before a government shutdown was to begin. On Aug. 2, just hours before the deadline, Congress gave final approval to legislation lifting the government's borrowing authority, averting a partial shutdown and the potential for a default on the federal debt.
What makes this showdown so bizarre and surreal is that the sticking point was about $2 billion in budget cuts the Republicans wanted to make. Congress sneezes and spends $2 billion and the notion that it was worth shutting down the government over is simply ridiculous.
The public is already tired of this childish nonsense and will probably take it out on incumbents in both parties at the polls in 2012.